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Trans-European Energy Networks
(TEN-E's) - Connecting Europe

Updated: July 2014

The EU supports Trans European Networks (TEN) within the Connecting Europe programme. The support is for transport networks, energy networks and telecommunication networks. This page deals only with energy networks. Read about transport networks at Friends of the Earth - or Transport & Environment.

Index of this Page:

Support for Trans-European Energy Infrastructure. Read

Priority Corridors Identified in the Regulation. Read
European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR), 2010. Read
INFORSE-Europe's Opinion. Read
A Bit of History. Read

Support for Trans-European Energy Infrastructure

In 2014, the first groups of infrastructure projects etc of "common interest" was selected for support of a total of Eur 647 million.

in 2012-13, "Projects of Common Interest" were identified within the priority corridors set out in 2011.

In 2011, the European Commission (EC) adopted the proposal for a Regulation on "Guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure" aiming to ensure that strategic energy networks and storage facilities are completed by 2020. The EC identified 12 priority corridors and areas covering electricity, gas, oil and carbon dioxide transport networks and proposed a regime of "common interest" for projects contributing to implementing these priorities and having obtained this label. In addition to corridors, also other projects of common interest can be selected, such as smart grid projects.
The selected projects of ”Common Interest” benefit from a special permit granting procedure faster, easier and more transparent than normal procedures (not more than 3 years for the whole procedure) and they will be eligible for EU funding -grants, project bonds or guarantees-. In the period 2014-2020 EUR 5.85 billion are assigned for energy infrastructure under the ”Connecting Europe Facility”(CEF).

This will be the first time that the EU is co-financing the construction of large energy infrastructure from its regular budget. In the last financial period 2007-2013 the EU financed mainly feasibility studies with EUR 155 million. As an exception, EUR 3.85 billion were invested into energy projects under the European Energy Plan for Recovery, set up in the context of the economic and financial crisis.

Priority Corridors Identified in the Regulation


(1) Northern Seas offshore grid (“NSOG”): integrated offshore electricity grid in the North Sea, the Irish Sea, the English Channel, the Baltic Sea and neighbouring waters to transport electricity from renewable offshore energy sources to centres of consumption and storage and to increase cross-border electricity exchange.
Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom.

(2) North-South electricity interconnections in Western Europe (“NSI West Electricity”): interconnections between Member States of the region and with Mediterranean third countries, notably to integrate electricity from renewable energy sources.
Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Malta, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom.

(3) North-South electricity interconnections in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe ("NSI East Electricity"): interconnections and internal lines in North-South and East-West directions to complete the internal market and integrate generation from renewable energy sources.
Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia.

(4) Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan in electricity ("BEMIP Electricity"): interconnections between Member States in the Baltic region and reinforcing internal grid infrastructures accordingly, to end isolation of the Baltic States and to foster market integration in the region;
Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden.


(5) North-South gas interconnections in Western Europe ("NSI West Gas"): interconnection capacities for North-South gas flows in Western Europe to further diversify routes of supply and increase short-term gas deliverability.
Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom.

(6) North-South gas interconnections in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe ("NSI East Gas"): regional gas connections between the Baltic Sea region, the Adriatic and Aegean Seas and the Black Sea, notably to enhance diversification and security of gas supply;
Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia.

(7) Southern Gas Corridor ("SGC"): transmission of gas from the Caspian Basin, Central Asia, the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean Basin to the Union to enhance diversification of gas supply.
Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, France, Germany, Hungary, Greece, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia.

(8) Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan in gas ("BEMIP Gas"): infrastructure to end the isolation of the three Baltic States and Finland and their single supplier dependency and to increase diversification of supplies in the Baltic Sea region;
Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden.


(9) Oil supply connections in Central Eastern Europe ("OSC"): interoperability of the oil pipeline network in Central Eastern Europe to increase security of supply and reduce environmental risks. The oil corridor is not expected to receive EU funding
Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia.


(10) Smart grids deployment: adoption of smart grid technologies across the Union to efficiently integrate the behaviour and actions of all users connected to the electricity network, in particular the generation of large amounts of electricity from renewable or distributed energy sources and demand response by consumers;
Member States concerned: all.

(11) Electricity highways: first electricity highways by 2020, in view of building an electricity highways system across the Union; Member States concerned: all.

(12) Cross-border carbon dioxide network: development of carbon dioxide transport infrastructure between Member States and with neighbouring third countries in view of the deployment of carbon dioxide capture and storage. Member States concerned: all.

More information in the European Commission Website – Energy Infrastructure here.

European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR) 2010
In order to be able to increase and enhance the sustainability, competitiveness and security of the supplies through the development of the European Networks, the EU ensured a large budget for the energy projects. Before the economic crisis these subsidies were channeled through the Trans-European Networks for Energy (TEN-E) programme, the Research and Technology Development (RTD) Framework Programmes and the Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE) programme. It should be noted however that the EU also supports energy projects through financial instruments such as the Structural Funds as well as the European Investment Bank loans and specific financial instruments. To help to recover the economy from the recession the European Parliament and the Council adopted Regulation (EC) No 663/2009 establishing the European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR). The budget was Eur 3.85 billion.
Details about the implementation, the EEPR regulation and other related documents are here on the EC website.

INFORSE-Europe Opinion
The aim of the networks should be sustainable development rather than increased competition and a possible lower price.
Support of transnational energy transmission systems should only be given when it clearly improves the opportunities for renewable energy, e.g. because large resources of renewable energy can only be used when a large group of consumers are connected. The transmission lines should be for intelligent use, e.g. combining areas with different renewable supply structures that complement each other, such as windpower and hydropower. The construction of transmission lines between areas with similar, fossil energy structures is waste of resources just for the idea of increased competition. Such projects should be avoided.
The guidelines and the environmental assessments should ensure that there is no promotion of projects that increase sale of electricity in the EU internal market that is produced with lower environmental or safety standards than those used in EU.
Natural gas transmission lines should in general not be supported as they tend to increase EU's dependence on imported fossil fuel and increase gas use.
In general transmission lines should be made as commercial projects without support or guarantees from states of EU.

A Bit of History
A Green Paper on the TEN-E was launched by the end of 2008 to launch a consultation on topics such as the development of the TEN-E, solidarity tool and the inclusion of oil and CO2 infrastructure in the TEN-E. The following debate was used by the EU Commission to introduce the more ambitious TEN-E framework currently in place.

In 2003, the Commission proposed a new text to review the guidelines. After more than two years of negotiations, the programme was adopted in 2006. The guidelines of the TEN-E included 9 major axes for electricity and 6 major axes for gas to support transport of gas, and electricity. The EU support consisted of defining the priority projects and more generally establishing favourable conditions for development of these networks, using existing EU and national grants and loans, fast approval procedures etc. The three main objectives are: sustainability, competitiveness and security of supply.

The first guidelines for TEN-Energy were adopted in 1996, including the list of projects of common interest (Council Decision 96/391/EC of 28 March 1996). The list has been then revised three times, in 1997, 1999 and 2003.

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